Old Main Couloir

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 41.36100°N / 106.318°W
Additional Information Route Type: Basic Snow Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate Snow
Sign the Climber's Log



Route Description

I began my ascent from the East Lake Marie Trailhead, which is the first TH along Hwy 130 when coming from Centennial.

**Note:** The West TH is maybe 100 yards further down the road, and if you want a better view of Lake Marie as you start, start there and head to the ridge and around the lake, following the ridge North

From the East TH lot, follow the short gravel path west to the Mirror Lake campground lot. Here you can view a map of the ridge before you head out. The beginning of the trail is clearly marked.

**I made this climb in June, when there was still an abundance of snow. According to the TOPO map, the trail is actually farther east than my approach route. Just follow the ridge and keep an eye on "Old Main."**

Work your way North of the sheer face of "Old Main." Here, you'll find the Old Main couloir and variations. The couloirs showed evidence of avalanches; use good judgement. Bust out your axe and crampons, pick a line, and head up. SEE PHOTOS

THE CLIMB is very straightforward - gain the ridge by taking a line up the couloir. The Old Main couloir itself is moderate in steepness and it seems as though the variations steepen as you go North (I really need a clinometer).

From the top of Old Main couloir, head North and connect with the Medicine Bow Trail by following the large wooden pungee stakes. After a short stretch of boulderhopping will put you on the heavily cairned summit of Medicine Bow Peak...congratulations!

The shortest method of descent would be a fun glissade back down Old Main Couloir, but you can also make one of two loops. Either head North and drop down to the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, taking the Lakes Trail South to the trailhead, or head South from the summit on the Medicine Bow Trail, circumnavigate the Southern and more technical half of the ridge back to your car.

Essential Gear

Ice axe/crampons and snowshoes made everything much easier.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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